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Smokers Lighting Up More in Light of New Study
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LONDON, England - Norwegian scientists who studied the health records of 43,000 men and women have shown that light smoking -- less than five cigarettes daily -- triples the risk of dying of heart disease or lung cancer. "In both sexes, smoking 1-4 cigarettes per day was associated with a significantly higher risk of dying," said Dr. Aage Tverdal of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo. In view of this study, many smokers are smoking more, to avoid falling into this dangerous "light smoker" category.

"I had no idea how dangerous it was! Now I smoke at least a pack a day."
-- Danielle Rama, casual smoker
"I thought it would be a good idea to cut back," explained one man, "I was smoking nearly a pack a day. I knew I wasn't going to quit, but I thought I could at least tone it down a bit. I was down to three cigarettes a day when I read about the study. I'm glad they got to me when they did! Thankfully, I'm back up to fifteen a day now." His sentiments were echoed by many casual smokers. "I was only smoking when my friends did," said Danielle Rama, "I would go days without a single puff. I had no idea how dangerous it was! Now I smoke at least a pack a day."

Explaining why light smoking is so dangerous, Dr. Maurin Rvork stated, "With the frequent smoker, the body sees that something is wrong. There is a build up of tar in the lungs. There is a near-constant elevation of dopamine caused by the presence of nicotine. These trigger a response from the body to flush out the foreign matter." But with a so-called light smoker, Rvork explained, "The body is apparently unaware of the foreign materials, due to their lower levels. The tar is allowed to build up in the lungs slowly, lulling the body into believing that this is an acceptable state."

Why hasn't this phenomenon been noticed before? Dr. Tverdal theorizes that light smoking is relatively new. "Society has squeezed the smoking public into tighter and tighter spaces and times," he said, "Forcing them to grab a quick smoke in the morning, at lunch, and on the way home. It has less to with when they want to smoke, and more to do with when they are allowed to smoke."
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